Benefit Redemption Patterns in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program in Fiscal Year 2017

Project Overview

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is the largest program in the domestic nutrition assistance safety net. Nearly all households receive benefits through an electronic benefit transfer, facilitating examination of the patterns of SNAP benefit redemption, particularly related to the timing and amount of transactions and the rate at which households exhaust their benefits. This study focused on redemption patterns in fiscal year (FY) 2017, made comparisons with findings from two similar studies conducted for FY 2003 and FY 2009, and used descriptive and regression analysis to identify spending behaviors identified as atypical.

Specifically, Insight addressed the following objectives:

  • Statistical description of benefit redemption patterns across all SNAP households and statistical definition and identification of atypical SNAP account activity
  • Statistical description of benefit redemption patterns by household demographic and geographic characteristics and description of the demographic and geographic characteristics of typical and atypical SNAP account holders


Final report